the ultimate Black Hills Bucket List

I've wanted to start this series for a while. Creating a 'bucket list' for specific to places I've been or want to go. After a brief {and I mean seriously brief} visit back to the place I spent my formative high school years, I figured I should start this off with the Black Hills area. 

Go big or go home, right?

There's way, way more than you think to do in the Black Hills. And even after years spent there, I haven't ticked everything off. Creating bucket lists for the place you are based currently is a great way to ensure you make the most of your time wherever you are and keeps you actively exploring!  

Must Do //

Throughout the Black Hills region, there are heaps of activities to do. The biggest plus?! Most of them are FREE! Or, at the very least, cheap. 

  • visit Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer X
  • visit Mount Rushmore in Keystone X
  • stop by Art Alley in Rapid City* X
  • ride the 1880s train in Hill City
  • tour the Dances with Wolves film set X
  • play the slots in Deadwood X
  • Black Hills Stock Show + Rodeo X
  • Downtown Pumpkin Festival in Rapid City* X
  • Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis X
  • see a movie at Roy's Drive-in in Hermosa* X
  • watch a film at the historic Elks Theatre in Rapid City* X
  • helicopter ride over the Black Hills from one of many locations
  • hot yoga at Solace or glow-n-flow yoga at the Yoga Studio both in Rapid City* X
  • visit Dinosaur Park in Rapid City  X
  • visit the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs
  • visit the Air and Space Museum in Box Elder  X
  • visit Custer State Park during the Buffalo Roundup X
  • cliff jump at Sheridan Lake {dangerous!!!} X
  • visit Storybook Island in Rapid City {I suggest going during Christmas}* X
  • watch the Parade of Lights {annually during winter months} X
  • take a dip in Evan's Plunge natural mineral pool X
  • Bear Country Cub Fest in Rapid City* X

Must Hike //

One of the things I enjoyed most about living in the Black Hills is the easy accessibility to a plethora of  hiking trails. Just remember if you're enjoying the natural beauty you're surrounded with to help keep it that way

  • Harney Peak* X
  • Spearfish Canyon X
  • Poet's Table
  • around the Badlands {not part of the Black Hills, very close by} X
  • Bear Butte X
  • Spring Creek Loop Trail X
  • Dakota Point X
  • Sylvan Lake Shore Trail X
  • Crow Peak* X
  • Hippie Hole* X
  • Horsethief Lake X
  • Mickelson Trail {where I completed my first 1/2 marathon}X

Must Eat //

The Black Hills is not a 'foodie' area, however, there are a few places you must go to have a full BH experience! Notice I've done almost everything on the eat list? 

Must Sip //

Believe it or not, there are an abundance of wineries and breweries in the area. I enjoyed a delicious cocktail at the Vertex bar in Rapid on my 24th birthday eve and I still remember it being super special. I'm also a huge fan of the Crow Peak Brewery in Spearfish as it often features live music, a classic Tara favourite!

* asterisks mark personal favourites

Once you have completed everything on this list, you can say with almost full certainty that you have done most everything worth doing in the Black Hills.

Congratulations to you!